A $10 surge protecting wallwart with USB and 15 amp outlets

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/06/a-10-surge-protecting-wallwar.html

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The much maligned and oft forgotten…

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Plastic housings for surge protectors are a fire hazard. If the MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor = surge protector) gets repeatedly hit with surges, it isn’t capable of safely dissipating the heat and begins to melt and ignite the nearest part of the plastic housing. There have been features about this risk on television news over the years. I won’t use anything except a metal cased surge protector or power bar specifically because of the fire hazard it presents.

Not sure I would trust any surge protector that costs $10. A rating of 900 Joules might be sufficient for small bedroom electronics such as lamps or clocks, maybe in the kitchen for a hand blender or coffee grinder. But for anything with sensitive electronics (i.e., just about everything these days) I’d go at least 2-3kJ.

Also don’t forget these things wear-out with each surge, so if you have a big lighting storm or power-cut, or the device has been in use continuously for about 5 years, it’s probably a good idea to replace it.

We had the main board on a brand-new furnace blow out in a power cut a couple years ago and of course it’s not covered by any warranty. So, now I have a few Tripp-Lites rated to 2700J - one each for the furnace, fridge, home media center and home office cluster. Even replacing them all every couple of years works out to about $5/month which is pretty cheap for peace-of-mind.

From the top Amazon review:

DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!!! I had one cell phone charger plugged into this “surge protector”. I was sitting home with my 9 month old baby and this product LIT ON FIRE and set my wall on fire.

A lot of the reviews for most of the Amazon Basic wall adapters say they over heat/smoke/catch on fire with more frequency than I’m comfortable with.

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